The Baltimore Ravens' special teams are expected to be near the top of the NFL considering that was John Harbaugh's expertise before he became head coach. So far, the Ravens haven't disappointed.
The Ravens remained No. 5 in the annual special teams rankings from Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News. This put the Ravens at the top of the AFC North, where the Cincinnati Bengals (No. 6) were the only other division team to rank in the top half of the NFL. The Cleveland Browns were tied for No. 17, and the Pittsburgh Steelers were No. 21.
The Ravens' ranking came on the strength of punter Sam Koch, who was the team's biggest Pro Bowl snub. His 43.3-yard net average was the fourth-best in NFL history, and his 47.4-yard gross average ranked third in the league this season.
Kickoffs also played a big part in the Ravens' success on special teams. Jacoby Jones scored on a 108-yard return and led the league with a 30.6-yard average. The Ravens held teams to an average starting position of the 20.1-yard line, which was the best in the NFL. Justin Tucker's 60 touchbacks ranked fourth in the league.
In addition to Jones' kickoff return, the Ravens scored another touchdown off special teams late in the season, when Darian Stewart blocked a punt against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kamar Aiken ran it back 11 yards to the end zone.
There were some blunders on special teams, too. The Jaguars caught the Ravens off guard with an onside kick and fake punt. Jones muffed two punt returns. The Ravens' 22 penalties were the eighth-most in the NFL.
Still, the Ravens' special teams finished in the top five for the third straight year under coordinator Jerry Rosberg, who is known for being one of the top teachers in the league.
A look at the Ravens' special teams rankings since Harbaugh became coach.
2008: No. 22
2009: No. 18
2010: No. 8
2011: No. 24
2012: No. 3
2013: No. 5
2014: No. 5